Ageing Cuban plane linked to embargo by successive US administrations
By Rick Gladstone & Frances Robles
19 May 2018 — 11:28am
New York: A Cuban state airliner crashed and burnt moments after take-off from Havana on Friday, killing nearly all 114 people aboard the nearly 40-year-old plane.
It was one of the worst airline crashes in Cuba, which has been struggling to operate with a decrepit fleet of planes that it has blamed partly on the long-standing economic embargo imposed by the United States.
It remained unclear what caused the crash, but it came against the backdrop of Cuba's struggle to improve commercial aviation on the island, which has long faced economic constraints from the US embargo.
A day before the crash, Cuban state newspapers reported that one of Cuba's new vice presidents, Salvador Valdes Mesa, met with key officials from the island's aviation sector to discuss challenges.
The report said that Roberto Pena Samper, president of the Cuban Aviation Corporation, bemoaned that the "embargo placed by successive American administrations prevents" the island "from acquiring the resources necessary to operate a larger fleet of planes and to enhance airport services."
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